2012 RIBA Stirling Prize Winner – Sainsbury Laboratory
An architectural promenade forms the heart of a building which celebrates botanical research through interaction, communication and a connection with nature. From the front to the back, the building progresses from a grand, colonnaded façade to an open balcony and glazed public café, set within a botanic garden.
At ground level the entrance gently ramps down through the auditorium and meeting areas. At the upper level the scientists work on illuminated stages, with research and write-up areas forming the ends of two promenades, flanked by small spontaneous brainstorming spaces.
Sustainability through flexibility in long-term use is achieved through an
This building is an exciting new typology, with spaces for research juxtaposed with those for education, the private and the public and the highly-technological nurture of nature with the simple enjoyment of an extended botanic garden.
Architect: Stanton Williams
Client: University of Cambridge
Sainsbury Laboratory video
Alan Stanton talks about the botanic gardens’ historical with Charles Darwin and John Henslow and the challenges of creating a new building to house the Herbarium Collection in such an ecologically sensitive environment.
The Sainsbury Laboratory is located on the northern edge of the University of Cambridge’s botanic gardens, approximately 2 miles from Cambridge city centre and half a mile from Cambridge rail station.